Book Talks

Book Talks 2023 - 2024

Book Talks are designed to give UM faculty with a humanities focus an opportunity to share their recently published books with the community. Faculty generally present on their research and take questions from the audience.   

Please join us for another academic year @ Books & Books (265 Aragon Ave, Coral Gables, FL 33134)! Please RSVP for the program to allow for set-up. Programs take place on Monday evenings, starting at 6:30pm. 

(Please note that the Book Talk with Professor Patricia J. Saunders on Thursday, January 18 will be located at the Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM), starting at 7:00pm.)

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  • Monday, August 28: Andrew Lynch


    Monday, August 28 @ 6:30pm

    Book Talk @ Books & Books, Coral Gables

    Spanish in Miami: Sociolinguistic Dimensions of Postmodernity

    Andrew Lynch, Associate Dean for Program Development, College of Arts & Sciences; Professor, Michele Bowman Underwood Department of Modern Languages & Literatures; Editor in Chief, Heritage Language Journal

    Spanish in Miami reveals the multifaceted ways in which the language is ideologically rescaled and sociolinguistically reconfigured in this global city.

    This book approaches Miami’s sociolinguistic situation from language ideological and critical cultural perspectives, combining extensive survey data with two decades of observations, interviews, and conversations with Spanish speakers from all sectors of the city. Tracing the advent of postmodernity in sociolinguistic terms, separate chapters analyze the changing ideological representation of Spanish in mass media during the late 20th century, its paradoxical (dis)continuity in the city’s social life, the political and economic dimensions of the Miami/Havana divide, the boundaries of language through the perceptual lens of Anglicisms, and the potential of South Florida—as part of the Caribbean—to inform our understanding of the highly complex present and future of Spanish in the United States.

    Spanish in Miami will be of interest to advanced students and researchers of Spanish, Sociolinguistics, and Latino Studies.

     to view Andrew Lynch's Book Talk!


  • Monday, September 18: Ashli White

    Monday, September 18 @ 6:30pm

    Book Talk @ Books & Books, Coral Gables

    Revolutionary Things: Material Culture and Politics in the Late Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

    Ashli White, Professor and Chair, Department of History

    Join us to celebrate this new book by Ashli White, Professor and Chair, Department of History. 

    Focusing on a range of objects—ceramics and furniture, garments and accessories, prints, maps, and public amusements—White shows how material culture held political meaning for diverse populations. Enslaved and free, women and men, poor and elite—all turned to things as a means to realize their varied and sometimes competing visions of revolutionary change.

    “By excavating the power of material objects and visual images to express the fervor and fear of the revolutionary era, Ashli White brings us closer to more fully embodied, more fully human, figures.”—Richard Rabinowitz, author of Objects of Love and Regret: A Brooklyn Story
    “In this important, innovative book, Ashli White moves nimbly between North America, Europe, and the Caribbean to capture the richness and complexity of material culture in the Age of Revolutions.”—Michael Kwass, Johns Hopkins University.

    Ashli White is Professor of History at the University of Miami, where she specializes in the history of early North America and its ties to the Atlantic world. Her new book, Revolutionary Things: Material Culture and Politics in the Late Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World, was published by Yale University Press in 2023, and she is also the author of Encountering Revolution: Haiti and the Making of the Early Republic (Johns Hopkins, 2010). In 2018, she was the associate curator and co-author of the catalog for Antillean Visions, an exhibition at the Lowe Art Museum that explored over 500 years of Caribbean maps.​​​​​​

     to register. Please confirm your attendance in advance to enable sufficient set-up for the program. We look forward to seeing you!

  • Monday, October 2: Delia Pamela Fuentes Korban

    Monday, October 2 @ 6:30pm

    Book Talk @ Books & Books, Coral Gables

    Memory and History in Argentine Popular Music

    Delia Pamela Fuentes Korban, Lecturer, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

    Join us to celebrate this book by Delia Pamela Fuentes Korban, Lecturer, Modern Languages and Literatures: Memory and History in Argentine Popular Music.

    Memory and History in Argentine Popular Music examines Argentine popular music of the 1990s and early 2000s that denounced, immortalized, and reflected on the processes that led to the socioeconomic crisis that shook Argentine society at the end of 2001. It draws upon the three most popular genres of the time—tango, rock chabón, and cumbia villera, a form of cumbia from the shantytowns. The book analyzes lyrics from these three genres, detailing how they capture the feel of daily life and the changes that occurred under the neoliberal economic model that ravaged the country throughout the ‘90s. The contention is that these are canciones con historia, songs that depict historical events and tell personal stories. Therefore, the lyrics from all three genres serve as accounts of historical events and social and economic changes, denouncing the social inequalities caused by neoliberal economic policies. Furthermore, the book explores how the process of remembering and forgetting takes place on the Internet. It examines how users navigate video-sharing portals and use music to create “virtual sites of memory,” a term that extends Winter’s conception of physical sites of memory to digital environments as virtual sites of commemoration.

    Delia Pamela Fuentes Korban is in the Michele Bowman Underwood Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Miami, where she teaches Italian and Spanish Languages as well as Latin American literature. She specializes in memory studies and in contemporary Argentine literature, history, and popular music.

     to register. Please confirm your attendance in advance to enable sufficient set-up for the program. We look forward to seeing you!


  • Monday, October 30: Max Fraser

    Monday, October 30 @ 6:30pm

    Book Talk @ Books & Books

    Hillbilly Highway: The Transappalachian Migration and the Making of a White Working Class

    Max Fraser, Assistant Professor, Department of History

    Join us to celebrate this recent book, Hillbilly Highway: The Transappalachian Migration and the Making of a White Working Class, by Max Fraser, Assistant Professor, Department of History.
    Hillbilly Highway presents the largely untold story of the great migration of white southerners to the industrial Midwest and its profound and enduring political and social consequences.
    Over the first two-thirds of the twentieth century, as many as eight million whites left the economically depressed southern countryside and migrated to the booming factory towns and cities of the industrial Midwest in search of work. The “hillbilly highway” was one of the largest internal relocations of poor and working people in American history, yet it has largely escaped close study by historians. In Hillbilly Highway, Max Fraser recovers the long-overlooked story of this massive demographic event and reveals how it has profoundly influenced American history and culture—from the modern industrial labor movement and the postwar urban crisis to the rise of today’s white working-class conservatives.

    The book draws on a diverse range of sources—from government reports, industry archives, and union records to novels, memoirs, oral histories, and country music—to narrate the distinctive class experience that unfolded across the Transappalachian migration during these critical decades. As the migration became a terrain of both social advancement and marginalization, it knit together white working-class communities across the Upper South and the Midwest—bringing into being a new cultural region that remains a contested battleground in American politics to the present.
    The compelling story of an important and neglected chapter in American history, Hillbilly Highway upends conventional wisdom about the enduring political and cultural consequences of the great migration of white southerners in the twentieth century.

    Max Fraser is a scholar of American labor, cultural, and political history. His research and teaching focus primarily on working class life and social movements in the twentieth century; on the rise of new strains of political conservatism in the decades after World War II; and on the class politics of American popular culture. He is now beginning research on a second major project, on the figure of the outlaw in American politics and culture. His scholarship has been published in journals such as American Art, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, Raritan, and Southern Cultures, and he writes a regular column on big business and American politics for New Labor Forum. He has also worked as a journalist, reporting on the labor movement and the economy for a range of publications including Dissent and The Nation.

     to view Max Fraser's Book Talk!
     to access a 46-minute podcast on Spotify with Max Fraser.
     to access a 46-minute podcast with Max Fraser on Spotify for Podcasts.

  • Monday, November 13: Simon Envine

    Monday, November 13 @ 6:30pm

    Book Talk @ Books & Books

    A Certain Gesture: Evnine’s Batman Meme Project and its Parerga!

    Simon Evnine, Professor, Department of Philosophy

    Join us to celebrate this book by Simon Evnine, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Miami:  A Certain Gesture: Evnine’s Batman Meme Project and its Parerga!

    “Evnine’s exploration is personal, but like the best personal explorations, it illuminates human psychology – our psychology.” - Iskra Fileva, Colorado University)

    A Certain Gesture: Evnine’s Batman Meme Project and Its Parerga! takes the form of commentaries on memes made with the image of Batman slapping Robin. It is a genre-defying book that mixes discussions of philosophy, psychoanalysis, Judaism, language, and representation with self-writing, producing a distinctive type of autotheory. The book is cerebral, playful, social, and intensely personal. It contains philosophy, including original philosophical research, but also explores new ways of doing and thinking about philosophy.

    Simon Evnine is a Professor of Philosophy and Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Miami. Besides working on Batman memes, he is interested in metaphysics, artifacts, social ontology, and the philosophy of language.  

     to view Simon Evnine's Book Talk!


  • Thursday, January 18: Patricia J. Saunders with Donna P. Hope

    Thursday, January 18 @ 7:00pm

    "When 'Fashion Ova Style' Sell Off...Buyers Beware"

    Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) / 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132

    Patricia J. Saunders, Professor of English

    Donna Hope, Professor of Culture, Gender and Society, at the University of the West Indies 

    Co-Sponsored by Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) and University of Miami Center for the Humanities, Center for Global Black Studies, and the Department of English.

    Join Prof. Patricia Saunders (University of Miami) and Prof. Donna Hope (University of the West Indies, Jamaica) for an evening of reasoning about the wisdom and dangers inherent in the con/fusion of the Jamaican colloquialisms "Fashion Ova Style" and "Sell Off," in contemporary global markets. This dialogue will offer an in-depth reasoning on the styles and fashions that have Jamaican dancehall music one of Jamaica's many iconic cultural exports around the globe. The recent book Buyers Beware: Insurgency and Consumption in Caribbean Popular Culture by Patricia Saunders will be central to this discussion, with its invitation as a provocation to engage in a more undisciplined way of thinking, seeing, and interpreting popular cultural practices that emerge from working poor and working-class diaspora subjects. How has the work of contemporary artists attempted to intervene in these seemingly polarized, contradictory ways of seeing Caribbean popular culture specifically, and Black Diaspora cultures more generally? What might we gain from rethinking agency, performance, and even freedom through the lens of consumer culture?

    Patricia J. Saunders is Professor of English at the University of Miami, Coral Gables where she is the Co-Editor of Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal. She is the author of Alien-Nation and Repatriation: Translating Identity in Anglophone Caribbean Literature (2007) and co-editor of Music. Memory. Resistance: Calypso and the Caribbean Literary Imagination (2007). Her second monograph, Buyers Beware: Epistemologies of Consumption in Caribbean Popular Culture (2022), examines a range of contemporary Caribbean popular cultural modes of expression including Jamaican dancehall music by Buju Banton, Ishawna, Spice and Lady Saw.  She also explores Caribbean fashion and styles, including practices of body modification, as well as the work of contemporary visual artists Ebony G. Patterson, Christopher Cozier, and Leasho Johnson. Buyers Beware is published in the Critical Caribbean Studies Series with Rutgers University Press.

    Donna P. Hope, PhD is Professor of Culture, Gender and Society, at the University of the West Indies. Her work engages with Afro-Jamaican/Caribbean cultures of identity-making as they intersect with power domains including class, gender and race/colour.

    She has published extensively in the areas of popular culture, gender, music, identity, and creative industries, authoring/editing six academic books and one self-published popular book.  Her most recent publication titled Dancehall Queen: Erotic Subversion/Subversion Erotica (edited with Carla Lamoyi) was published in August 2023. A bilingual work that historicizes the Dancehall Queen phenomenon in its engagement with music, dance and fashion, the work assesses the movement of this female-focused cultural force outwards both regionally and globally.

    to register. Please confirm your attendance in advance to enable sufficient set-up for the program. We look forward to seeing you!

    Travel Options to Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) / 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33132:

    By Vehicle

    Paid self-parking is available in the museum garage during regular museum hours (space limited). Rates are $18 flat. Guests must take their tickets and pay at the stations located near the Knight Plaza elevator or at the bottom of the garage entry ramp. PAMM members receive a $7 discount on parking. Members must bring their ticket to the Visitor Services Desk for the discount validation before paying at the stations. Active PAMM membership required. Discount available for all PAMM membership levels and cannot be applied to parking for the guest of members. Parking subject to availability.

    There are also more than a dozen public parking lots surrounding the museum. Visit Miami Parking Authority to find parking lot addresses, hours, and rates.

    • Self-parking at the Omni garage is available (rates apply). Omni garage located at 1645 Biscayne Blvd.
    • Self-parking within Maurice A. Ferré Park (not affiliated with PAMM/cash only) rates apply.
    • Parking for motorcycles and scooters is unavailable in the garage. Please use the parking lot located at adjacent Maurice A. Ferré Park (cash only/rates apply).

    By Public Transit

    If you are traveling northbound from a location near the MetroRail, please check your preferred navigation app and/or use the GO Miami-Dade Transit Mobile App:

    • Please take the Orange or Green Line to Government Center
    • Then transfer to the Omni Loop to Museum Park / Metromover Station
    • Arrive near Pérez Art Museum Miami (PAMM) 

  • Monday, February 19: Hermann Beck

    Monday, February 19 @ 6:30pm

    Book Talk @ Books & Books

    Before the Holocaust: Antisemitic Violence and the Reaction of German Elites and Institutions during the Nazi Takeover

    Hermann Beck, Professor of History

    Join us to learn more about this new book by Hermann Beck, Professor of History. Before the Holocaust examines the antisemitic violence experienced in this period—from boycotts, violent attacks, robbery, extortion, abductions, and humiliating 'pillory marches', to grievous bodily harm and murder—which has hitherto not been adequately recognized. Beck then analyses the reactions of those institutions that still had the capacity to protest against Nazi attacks and legislative measures—the Protestant Church, the Catholic Church, the bureaucracies, and Hitler's conservative coalition partner, the DNVP—and the mindset of the elites who led them, to determine their various responses to flagrant antisemitic abuses. Individual protests against violent attacks, the April boycott, and Nazi legislative measures were already hazardous in March and April 1933, but established institutions in the German State and society were still able to voice their concerns and raise objections. By doing so, they might have stopped or at least postponed a radicalization that eventually led to the pogrom of 1938 (Kristallnacht) and the Holocaust.

    Hermann Beck is Professor of History at the University of Miami, where he teaches German and Modern European History. He has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and a Fellow at the Berliner Historische Kommission. The author of books on Prussian history, The Origins of the Authoritarian Welfare State in Prussia, 1815-1870, and on Nazi Seizure of power, The Fateful Alliance. German Conservatives and Nazis in 1933, and From Weimar to Hitler (ed.), he has also contributed articles to leading American, British, and German journals.

     to view this Book Talk recording with Hermann Beck!

  • Monday, March 25: Alfred Martin

    Monday, March 25 @ 6:30pm

    Book Talk @ Books & Books

    The Generic Closet: Black Gayness and the Black-Cast Sitcom

    Alfred L Martin, Associate Professor, School of Communication

    Join us to celebrate this recent book, The Generic Closet:  Black Gayness and the Black-Cast Sitcom, by Alfred Martin, Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Miami.

    Even after a rise in gay and Black representation and production on TV in the 1990s, the sitcom became a "generic closet," restricting Black gay characters with narrative tropes.

    Drawing from 20 interviews with credited episode writers, key show-runners, and Black gay men, The Generic Closet situates Black-cast sitcoms as a unique genre that uses Black gay characters in service of the series' heterosexual main cast. Alfred L. Martin, Jr., argues that the Black community is considered to be antigay due to misrepresentation by shows that aired during the family viewing hour and that were written for the imagined, "traditional" Black family. Martin considers audience reception, industrial production practices, and authorship to unpack the claim that Black gay characters are written into Black-cast sitcoms such as MoeshaGood News, and Let's Stay Together in order to closet Black gayness.

    By exploring how systems of power produce ideologies about Black gayness, The Generic Closet deconstructs the concept of a monolithic Black audience and investigates whether this generic closet still exists.

    Alfred L. Martin Jr. is an Associate Professor of Media Studies at University of Miami. His research is concerned with the interplay between media industry studies and audience/fandom studies as related to television and film studies, critical black studies, sexuality and gender studies.


  • Monday, April 8: Jennifer Ferriss-Hill

    Monday, April 8 @ 6:30pm

    Book Talk @ Books & Books

    Roman Satire

    Jennifer Ferriss-Hill, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and College Diversity, College of Arts and Sciences; Professor of Classics

    Join us to celebrate this book Roman Satire by Jennifer Ferriss-Hill for our final Book Talk of the academic year.

    How do you insert yourself into an artistic canon? How do you establish yourself as a worthy successor to your predecessors while making your own mark on a genre? How do you police a genre’s boundaries to keep out the unwanted? With particular attention to authorial and national identity, artistic self-definition, and literary reception, this volume shows how four ancient Latin poets—Lucilius, Horace, Persius, and Juvenal—asked and answered these questions between the second century BCE and the second century CE as they invented and reinvented the genre of Roman verse Satire.

    Jennifer Ferriss-Hill is Professor of Classics and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and College Diversity. She received her A.B. in Classics summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Princeton University (2002) and her Ph.D. in Classical Philology from Harvard University (2008). She has published three monographs (Cambridge UP, 2015; Princeton UP, 2019; Brill 2022) and numerous articles on Roman Satire, Augustan Literature, and Athenian Old Comedy.

     to view this Book Talk recording with Jennifer Ferriss-Hill!